TRANSPORT for London (TfL) has confirmed that it has purchased the Oyster brand from the TranSys consortium.
This means that TfL now has complete control and ownership of the Oyster brand and will be able to investigate the future potential for Oyster to be extended to new and existing technologies and the commercial opportunities that provides.
Oyster has been a huge success in London, with more than seven million cards in regular use. Around 80 per cent of all journeys are made
each day on the bus, Tube, DLR and London Overground using an Oyster card. Since January 2, Oyster pay as you go has also been available on National Rail commuter services in Greater London. It has also been available for use on Thames Clipper river services since November 2009.
TfL has already undertaken a trial of Oyster on bank cards and mobile phones; but the £1million purchase of full rights on the Oyster brand will mean complete control over the investigation of options that make life easier and more convenient for Londoners to travel, while also increasing the accessibility of Oyster.
In August 2008, TfL gave notice that it intended to terminate the current Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the TranSys consortium.
The contract will end in August 2010, when the new arrangement with Cubic Transportation Systems and HP Enterprise Services will take over.
The new arrangement with Cubic Transportation Systems and HP Enterprise Services replaces the existing PFI, delivering better value for money as well as improvements to Oyster services for passengers across London.
The move is part of Transport for London's £5bn efficiency savings programme.
Further savings have also been realised by the early repayment of £101m of PFI debt.
On termination of the PFI contract in August 2010, TfL was liable to repay a total of £101million PFI debt to TranSys' funders.
This debt has been repaid approximately six months early, delivering £4m savings in debt interest payments for TfL.
Kulveer Ranger, the mayor of London's transport advisor, said: "Oyster has the potential to be used for so much more than simply getting around the capital; and the technology is there to make it even more convenient for Londoners to use by integrating it into mobile phones or bank cards. Buying full rights to the Oyster brand means TfL now has total control over the future of Oyster. Paying off the PFI debt six months early is common sense as it will save London £4m in interest payments.''
As a result of early repayment of this PFI debt, all ticketing system assets such as Oyster readers and validators, ticket gatelines, all London Underground retailing devices including ticket office and passenger operated machines, London buses ticketing equipment and back office systems have now transferred to public control and the ownership of TfL.
This does not affect the existing operating contract with TranSys which will continue to run until August 2010, as previously announced.
TranSys will continue to retain advertising rights on ticket gatelines and ticketing media until March 2015.
Oyster is the world's most successful transport smartcard. Now that the Oyster brand and ticketing equipment is under TfL's ownership, we can further investigate the potential for Oyster to be extended to new and existing technologies and
the commercial opportunities that provides. This will ensure that Oyster remains at the forefront of transport smartcard technology.
TfL's successful partnership with Cubic and HP Enterprise Services will now continue for the next five years starting summer 2010. The new contracts will deliver better value for money and improvements to Oyster for passengers across London.
SHASHI VERMA TfL director of fares and ticketing